Arts & Events

New: AGRIPPINA: A Rollicking Handel Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 21, 2016 - 10:06:00 AM

West Edge Opera’s third and final production of this summer’s festival offered George Friedrich Handel’s Agrippina directed by Mark Streshinky and with sets designed by Sarah Phykitt. Streshinky states in program notes for Agrippina that he wanted sets to evoke Hieronymus Bosch’s famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. I suppose the sets provided by Sarah Phykitt satisfied Streshinsky, though I fail to comprehend how they added anything to an opera set in Nero’s Rome. I found the accordion-folding sets a distracting conceit that contributed nothing to this Handel opera. -more-

Lo and Behold: Will the Internet Save Us or Destroy US?

By Gar Smith
Friday August 19, 2016 - 06:14:00 PM

Opens August 19 at the Shattuck Landmark

Lo and Behold is a magician's-trick of the movie. It is metaphorical, metaphysical, metawhimsical, and metapocalyptic. It's a film by Werner Herzog, which is to say it is thoroughly "meta."

Herzog's new film doesn't feature man-eating bears (a la Grizzly Man), demented conquistadors on self-destructive quests (Fitzcaraldo; Aguirre: Wrath of God), or spelunking through 30,000-year-old art galleries (Cave of Forgotten Ancestors). In Lo and Behold: Reveres of a Connected World, Herzog trains his camera—and his quirky curiosity—on the world of computers. And the Internet. And social media. And robots. And solar flares. . . . -more-

Silk Road Ensemble Plays Berkeley’s Greek Theatre

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 19, 2016 - 02:38:00 PM

Founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road promotes cross-cultural music performance and international collaboration. On Thursday evening, August 18, the Silk Road Ensemble performed an inspiring concert of world music at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Performing with the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo was admirably self-effacing in this concert, as he allowed the group and its individual members to enjoy the spotlight. Yo-Yo Ma’s famed abilities as a cello soloist were only featured in one number in this concert, a Finnish folksong for piano and cello by Michio Mamiya, in which Yo-Yo Ma was accompanied on piano by Spanish artist Cristina Pato. Ms. Pato was also featured in the concert’s opening number, this time on Galician bagpipes. In this opening work, a Fanfare for Gaita and Suona, Cristina Pato was paired with Chinese pipist Wu Man; and the two musicians serenaded each other and the audience from opposite sides of the Greek Theatre’s stage, occasionally coming together at center stage only to retreat once again to the sides. This opener was exhilarating and exciting, and it foreshadowed the wonderful music to come. -more-